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Home Sexual Health Sexual Health CDC Reports One in Four Teen Girls have an STI

CDC Reports One in Four Teen Girls have an STI

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A study released in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that approximately one in four teenaged girls have at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI). The report was culled from data on 838 girls aged 14 to 19 who took part in a government health survey. Twenty-six percent of the teens, who officials said were nationally representative, had a sexually transmitted infection. This number translates to over 3 million U.S. teenaged girls.

Teen girls at lockers

Only half of the teens surveyed reported having sex; and among them the STI rate was 40 percent. In this group, 18 percent were infected with HPV, which is associated with cervical cancer; 4 percent had chlamydia, which can lead to infertility if left untreated; 2.5 percent had trichomoniasis; and 2 percent had genital herpes.

These statistics are overwhelming, indicating that nearly half of sexually active teenagers have evidence of an STD. The study, released at the 2008 National STD Prevention Conference, has pediatricians and young adult health specialists pointing to possible reasons and offering potential solutions. Fault is most often placed on inadequate sex education and abstinence-only programs, in addition to a young person’s sense of invulnerability as a contributing factors.

Additional studies featured at the conference identified missed opportunities for testing and STD prevention education for young women. One featured study showed that most women who received contraception from their doctors did not receive any information on STIs or how to prevent them, and the importance of testing was not discussed. The CDC suggests that young, sexually active women be tested each year for chlamydia and other STIs, and also emphasizes the importance of the Gardasil® vaccine, which helps prevent genital warts and cervical cancer.


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